If only they were clever Halloween decorations.
The San Francisco Bay area has received numerous shocking reports and photos of spiders falling out of the sky and sticking to surfaces as they reach land.
Residents have noticed globs of white webbing containing baby spiders that apparently need a new place to live through the process of “ballooning,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“What they are is strands of silk that spiderlings, baby spiders, use to disperse,” Fred Larabee, an assistant professor of biology at San Jose State University, told the paper, comparing the creepy act of nature to dandelion petals fluttering in the wind.
“To get away from where they’re originally born, they spin these silk strands and they get caught by the wind, which pulls the spiders to a new place to live, to new habitats, so they’re not competing with their siblings,” he explained.
The clots of webbing come, as seen by residents, when individual threads intertwine, according to Larabee.
One Pacific Grove resident, Brook Shadwell, described seeing webs “all over” her nabe, including on the ground, sticking to bushes, on powerlines and just about everywhere else — even, frighteningly, her own hand.
“They look almost like the fake spider web stuff that you buy at the Halloween store,” Shadwell said, adding that, as a lifetime resident of the area, she’s never seen the spooky airborne phenomena before.
“It was very silky and sticky,” she said, calling the phenomena “so weird.”
Larabee said this fall appears to be a particularly booming cycle of spider births.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn more about spiders,” Larabee said. “It gives the public an opportunity to see some really cool biology that maybe they wouldn’t otherwise.”
And who doesn’t mind another scare in time for Halloween, too?
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